The Battle Over the Nomination of Kenneth Marcus as assistant secretary at the Office of Civil Rights (OCR)

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Dear Colleagues:

As many of you know, for the past few weeks there has been a great deal of push back against the nomination of our friend and colleague Ken Marcus.  Ken is the founding president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law which has worked legally to fight anti-Jewish and anti-Israel discrimination in academia.  Marcus was nominated to serve as assistant secretary at the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) under Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. A position he previously held under President George W. Bush from 2003-2004.

SPME together with 60 other organizations sent a letter sent to members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee supporting his nomination highlighting Marcus’ strong record on the issues.

Eventually, his nomination was advanced on party lines which voted 12-11.  After the vote, our colleague Jonathan Marks observed that not one Democrat supported the nomination and concludes that, the Democrats knew that they did not have the votes to block Marcus. So their vote was symbolic. But what does it symbolize that a mainstream Republican appointee with an extraordinary record of combating anti-Semitism, and a respectable record of combating other forms of discrimination and hatred, merited not one Democratic vote? The only answer I can think of is this: It is all right to say you are against anti-Semitism, but it is unacceptable to act too vigorously against it. Such action offends those on the left who will tolerate no opposition to their mission to demonize the Jewish state. Democrats, sure of their Jews, seem determined to hold on to those who do Jews harm.”

As always, we welcome your feedback and article submissions.


Asaf Romirowsky, PhD

The Battle Over the Nomination of Kenneth Marcus as assistant secretary at the Office of Civil Rights (OCR)

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Asaf Romirowsky

Asaf Romirowsky PhD, is the Executive Director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME). Romirowsky is also a fellow at the Middle East Forum and a Professor ​[Affiliate] at the University​ of Haifa. Trained as a Middle East historian he holds a PhD in Middle East and Mediterranean Studies from King's College London, UK and has published widely on various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict and American foreign policy in the Middle East, as well as on Israeli and Zionist history.

Romirowsky is co-author of Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief and a contributor to The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel.

Romirowsky’s publicly-engaged scholarship has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The National Interest, The American Interest , The New Republic, The Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Ynet and Tablet among other online and print media outlets

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